Zoolander was the first comedy released in theaters after 9/11. The absurd send-up of the fashion industry focusing on one gloriously dim-witted supermodel seemed to be exactly what people needed at that extremely rough moment in our nation’s history. The film went on to gross over $60 million at the global box office, and has become a cult classic in the years since it came out.
Why? First of all, the plot of Zoolander absolutely ridiculous. It’s up to model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller), who’s become yesterday’s news thanks to the latest flash in the pan, Hansel (Owen Wilson), to save the Prime Minister of Malaysia from an assassination attempt — that Derek himself has been brainwashed to carry out, mind you. Derek regains confidence in himself, saves his flagging career, and finds love in the process.
Second, Zoolander is chock-full of instantly quotable catchphrases. “I'm not an ambi-turner. I can’t turn left.” “The files are in the computer.” “What is this, a center for ants? How can children learn to read if they can’t even fit inside the building?” “Did you ever think that maybe there’s more to life than being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking?”
There’s something a lot of people forget about Zoolander, though, which is that every celebrity and their mother is in the movie. Seriously. Have you watched it recently? Anyone who could possibly be considered a boldface name in 2001 stops by. Even Donald Trump is there. Yep, he was even showing up where no one really wanted him back then.